Friday, May 24, 2024

Whistler CR93 Radar Detector Review

Whistler are well known for their solid builds. There is little in the way of flash, few external integrations. That means we have a simple, easy to use build that pretty mu8ch anyone can plug in and play. The issue with that, even with the Higher end Cr93, is a lack of future utility. It’s all well and good eschewing app features and social connectivity five years ago, but on the current market that makes it very hard for me to look at the build and call it a good deal. Unlike the lower end Whistler builds the Cr93 has a bit of an ace up its sleeve, GPS features. It allows the user, if they are willing to put in the time, to greatly reduce the number of false positives, and thus headaches, generated by the detector. Not the only new feature here too.

I am at the end of this series of review now, and it is a shame. I have very much enjoyed getting to tinker with all kinds of radar detector. At the end of the series all of the knowledge I have accumulated tends to get put on the back burner, forgotten about. The most interesting thing I have learned, from my perspective at least, is the fact that the hardware of radar detectors has changed very littler in the last few decades. Valentine has been selling the V1 for a long time now, with little in the way of major changes. Of course, the real advancements have been made on the software side of things, with algorithms getting more and more complicated, able to filter signal noise to a fine point, extending ranges by picking up the details of fainter and fainter signals. The Cr93 s the culmination of the software development of the CR range, and it does a fine job of taking that hardware and pushing it to the limit. The issue is the lack of app integration, the way with which the big boy models are selling themselves is through the feature packed apps that come with them, and it’s the reason Cobra models will rank very high on my eventual top ten. The self contained alternative sold by the Cr93 is pretty good though, a GPS system with a database of flashpoints, traffic cameras and the like. not quite a good as a real time updated list generated by other users on the road, but very nice for those who do not want to connect their phone to their radar detector.

So let’s get to the real review. First a look at the build quality and aesthetics. I’ll be the first to admit that the look of the build is not that important, but it can be helpful when choosing between similar models.

Whistler CR93 Radar Detector Design and Build Quality

This is a Whistler build, which means right off the bat that the look of the build is sublime. I love the designers they have over there, they really know how to take old school tech and turn it out, making it look sleek and simple. The blue and black color scheme is right up my alley, and when combined with the blue LED display we have a nice cohesive looking product. The only issue with that display is the fact that the older LED tech is harder to read in the light of day, especially bad in sunnier areas. I like the use of the blue LEDS, over the clock radio esque Red ones, but still, a bit of a throw back here.

The feel of the build is excellent. Whistler really know how to get that weight just right. The fit is perfect, no moving parts, and so no rattle. If you hear any rattle out of the box then you have yourself a faulty detector, and you should be making use of the warranty. The mounting bracket is not the best, using that older click lock and suction cup design. it works, and well, but it is not quite as sturdy, nor as safe, as the newer mag lock and sticky cup mounting brackets. You can go third party for your bracket, but that costs a fair bit these days, and I really only advise you do that when you are buying a sub $100 detector, then the price is more than made up for.

one thing that i love about the Whistler models across the board is their Intellicord compatibility. Granted, Intellicord is not as good a name as Smart cable, but the function is identical, and that is the important thing. If you have owned a radar detector in the past you know that false positives are a fact of life.Having to lean over to the windshield to hit the mute button is a hazard that no one should try. The Intellicord allows you to hit mute with a button right next to you, you can also change the filtering mode, changing from highway to the various city modes. They real difference between the Cr93 and the Cr90 is the improvement to the software. I don’t know why they couldn’t release it as a downloadable package, but the differences in range are substantial. The Cr90 could do you around a mile in a dense area, while the Cr93’s filtering can extend that by around 30% according to some studies. I never have the right conditions to see the difference for myself, so I am at the mercy of other peoples results. One of the nice things about the internet is the availability of information. So long as you know your area, make liberal use of the mute function, select the correct filtering mode for the area, buy access to an app and update your GPS system you can make this build as silent and accurate as any on the market right now.

The GPS and app features I mentioned in the previous paragraph require some explanation. The CR93 is not compatible with any apps, but y9ou can still buy access to a service that displays the real time updates of other drivers. You cannot connect directly, and thus cannot use the more advanced features, nor can you contribute, but it still makes a difference, can be used to verify the signal origins and make sure that the mute button is being used at the correct time. The GPS integration is a bit of a legacy feature, you are seeing fewer and fewer models come with it. The app integration replaces it in terms of utility, but it is a nice alternative It uses an updated list of static locations known to have traffic cameras. You will have to manually update it every so often, but it goes a long way to reducing the false positives, and there are some folk out there creating customer GPS maps for all kinds of road hazards.

The last feature I want to discuss is the laser eye. LIDAR guns are seeing more and more use on the road. Radar still out numbers them by a wide margin, but there are enough out there that all the big radar detector firms have gotten worried. They have implemented a system that operates similarly to radar detection, but there is an issue with this solution. LIDAR is different from radar in terms of the travel distance. When a radar gun goes off the signal is bounced for miles, even with the short burst pop radar, it means that you get miles of warning in the right conditions. This is not true of LIDAR, the range you pick them up from is far smaller. It means that you don’t get much of a warning, and in the worst cases you only know about the signal after you have been hit. There is a lovely alternative to Laser eyes, but I will wait until the legality section before going into them, there are a few things you should know before considering them.

This is not a bad little machine. The look of the build is great, and the quality is certainly up there. It might be skirting the line between modern and legacy, but I feel the solutions present here are still more than competitive. So long as you work smart you can get yourself an experience on par with he best of them.

Whistler CR93 Radar Detector Legality and Pricing

I love that I get to talk about the law surrounding radar detectors. It has been a fascinating read. I can condense it all down into a few key things. For the most part in the US you are allowed to own and operate a radar detector. There are exceptions. For example, if you are driving a commercial vehicle you are not allowed to use a radar detector at all. Just fix it somewhere else and you’ll be fine. If you are reading internationally then I am sorry to say that for the most part radar detectors are illegal. Take a look at your local laws to confirm though, a there are some provinces in Canada that ban them and some that do not.

Now, I talked about the alternatives to using a laser eye system, to combat the use of LIDAR speed detectors. While it is true that the laser eye will work, it is too circumstantial from my perspective. Better I think to go with a LIDAR jammer. Now, it must be stressed, radar jammers are illegal everywhere.

And now the price.  For the most part Whistler models are still price a little too high for what they are. I have found the CR93 in the >$100 price range. Highest I have seen is $150, but there are cheaper options out there. That is a touch high for a build without app integration. I think the CR93 offers better value for money that any other CR model though, which only go as low as $50 for the bare bones basic build. If you can find this second hand it might be a little more up my alley, but then you lose what iIfeel is Whistler’s greatest strength, their after sale support. Bit of a mixed bag this.

Radar detectors do not have good warranties. There is no warranty arms race in the market, and so almost all of them offer only a 1 year warranty on their products. And it’s a limited one too, so the only thing that is covered is factory damage. When some of the firms are selling their builds for several hundred dollars I would prefer the warranty cover accidental damage as well, but that’s the world we live in. Whistler are no different, the price is low enough to compensate. their customer support is excellent though. I have contactedf it in the past to gauge their response time, and they got back to me within a day. they also have an in house repair shop, and offer to repair all models in perpetuity, a nice touch. Be sure to look on Amazon for your purchase though, as then you can take advantage of their consumer protection policies, I feel that is the best option overall.

Final advice on this section is to know the law. Anything coming down with communications in the name tends to cover radar and LIDAR detectors, so long as you keep on top of that you should be fine. The price here isn’t amazing, but it is affordable, and if you care about long term use of a product then Whistler are certainly a great option. They have some of the best customer support on the radar detector market, and that is something I care deeply about.

Whistler CR93 Radar Detector Conclusion

The CR93 is far from perfect. I would argue that the feature set is a little lacking, and the price is a little too high, but what is there works well, and if you put the time in this build can perform very well. If it is still about in a year, then I think the lower price point would make it a very attractive purchase. Seen as the software on the GPS system can be updated, and the potential for third party software to run as well, this could be a fine long term option.

There might better better machines out there at lower price points, but the after market care that Whistler offer is bound to sway a few. If you are in the market for a build that eschews app integration, and just does its job well, then you have to consider the CR93 from Whistler.

Barry W Stanton
Barry W Stanton
Irish born writer who drinks too much caffeine and reads too much Terry Pratchett. I enjoy long walks on the server and Korean cuisine.


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